CANTON — Wade Megan, the first National Hockey League player from Canton, has retired as a player and is focusing now on running the NoCo Hockey camp for area kids at SUNY Canton.
Megan, a forward who turned 29 on July 22, played in 11 games last year with the Detroit Red Wings and picked up an assist. He also played in 48 games with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins, recording 19 goals and 18 assists.
He made his NHL debut in the 2016-17 season with the St. Louis Blues, scoring his only career NHL goal in his first game. He played in 15 NHL games over the past three years.
“It’s just one of those things where I worked incredibly hard and no one can ever take that away from me,” Megan said. “I was able to get up there and play some games in the NHL and have an incredible experience along the way and meet a lot of great people, a lot of great coaches. Some of my best friends I’ve met through the game of hockey.”
Players who compete in NCAA Division I hockey, or high levels of the minor leagues, enjoy some luxuries, but when Megan made the NHL there was one thing that really caught his attention.
“The food,” Megan said. “There’s no shortage of food in the NHL. They definitely keep you well-fed. That’s one of the things that was just a nice little perk. Travel-wise it is a little easier on your body because you are able to fly out right after the game and sleep in your own bed in a lot of cases. In the American League you are getting up first thing in the morning and catching a 6 a.m. flight.”
His professional career started late in the 2012-13 season after he finished his college career at Boston University and joined the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. He also played in the AHL for the Portland Pirates and Chicago Wolves as well as spending time in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Megan is joined by two other Canton natives running NoCo Hockey, former St. Lawrence University standout Kyle Flanagan, who is now a scout with the Ottawa Senators, and current Alaska Anchorage assistant coach Mark Phalon.
The camp, which includes about 37 kids ages 12-18, started this week and concludes next week.
“Right now the focus is to continue to grow (NoCo) here,” Megan said. “There is plenty of interest, plenty of young players that are anxious to get better at the game. That’s what we are going to try to provide for them. Right now we will focus on the summers and do this summer, and start to focus on next summer, and then work our way backwards. If we can get involved with some teams during the winter, or come in to a practice here or there, that’s certainly an option, too.
“I’m developing drills and making the experience something the players and the parents can both enjoy. I want the parents to come here as well and have coffee up in the stands and talk a little bit and watch their son or daughter get better at the game of hockey.”
Megan played two years of high school hockey in Canton, helping the Golden Bears make the state final four in both seasons, before heading to the South Kent Prep School prior to the 2007-08 season.
“I think I’m kind of a risk-taker,” Megan said. “I just believe that you only have one life, so I’m all in. That was the reasoning behind (leaving for prep school early). If I fail, I fail, we’ll figure something out and move on. That was somewhat of an easy decision for me. Playing high school hockey here in Canton was incredible, playing with the people that you grew up with when you were young. I love being around Canton. I have a lot of good friends.”